‘Times, they’re a changing’ was never truer for the times we are living in now. The pandemic is old story, one that we have at work and home learned to make peace with co-exist- second skin now to work, study and live in the ‘next normal.’ The disruption brought about by this global affliction, has had long lasting impact, one that is continue into the future. Downsizing, pink slips and remote work were the last year’s normal. 2021’s next normal is to work around the existing conditions and look ahead at challenges as opportunities. Keeping the job situations in mind especially at a time when hiring is nowhere as low as at the start of the pandemic fallout. Here’s what we need to do to stay professionally relevant in these trying and testing times.
Re-skill, upskill; learn-unlearn and repeat
Henry David Thoreau famously said, 'When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before'. There are many inspiring quotes such as these, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. More than learning, being quick to shed old skin and becoming 'with it', in unlearning old tricks of the trade will come in handy. Identifying key skills and subject areas of one's choosing, it’s time to put the ear to the ground and grab opportunities of learning, newer skills et al that will pave the way for shedding the last year’s excess outdated information baggage. In-house, company sponsored or self- financed, a good idea to be on the look-out for training that will help the big career picture. The current role isn't and shouldn’t be your measuring scale- there’s a larger progression of the career that needs to be mapped. Job versus career will come into play here. The fact that anything can happen, any time should be a sign that ‘Carpe Diem’ extends to a moment of learning, skill again and unlearning. This when a few skills, qualifications and soft skills are fast losing pre-eminence earlier enjoyed, and there are a few others that are gaining significance like never before- digital familiarisation for one.
Tech disruption in the professional sphere is a refrain that we can do without hearing yet again. However, as WFA increasingly becomes a norm; Comfort with digital skills at the workplace needs to move beyond using Siri or Alexa to play our favourite song. AI enabled software for translations, negotiating and familiarising oneself with updated and latest versions of virtual interface software for, using it effectively, familiarising oneself with the changing role of technology in human resource management, digital devices to save time, right from framing mails to note taking- is a must on the job upskilling that is nothing short of mandatory now. As our world shrinks into the palm of our hand a.k.a, the smartphone- time to work on digital efficiency proving to be an effective employee- on speed, accuracy and content aided digitally.
Soft skills are here to grow
As face to face business stays but shrinks too- going by the logistical requirements mandated by the purse strings of the company and the growing possibility of remote working- the question of a soft skills remain. All things being equal, the edge would be achieved by a nuanced understanding of everyday soft skills in the company. Some of more significance than the other. Tone, empathy in the written and spoken word communication, inter-cultural fluency skills, Netiquette and Non-verbal cues through the screen, will gain greater importance. So will managing team collaborations successfully and relatively adapting o the changing times will be in vogue. At the end of the day adapting to the changing times, hard skills requirements, qualifications and updated self and company’s training calendar will help. Equally, these are times when reading up, keeping an ear to the ground and collaborating and creativity have truly gained significance as 21st century learning skills.
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